We last discussed the different styles of leadership and brought up that you don’t want to stick to only one style but you need to be flexible. This is where we will go more in depth of different situations and the whys of changing your tactics.
An Unruly Employee
One of the most common reasons you will need to change up your leadership styles is you have an employee that is just being flat out disobedient. Let’s say you have a strong team, they are one of the top teams in the building, usually on top with their metrics, but you have a transfer from another team that is not up to par. I have had this happen and usually it is because they are a troubled employee that keeps getting moved around but cannot meet the standard and so they bring the employee to you because you have the winning team. Because you have the winning team, you know your team knows what to do and you do not need to micromanage them but now with this troubled employee, you may have to. Anytime you get an employee that needs more attention, you will need to switch up from being that laid back cool leader that empowers their team to keeping a watchful eye on the team and will need to re-establish your expectations. You would not want to go full in tough Drill Sergeant because I almost guarantee that employee will shut down and get worse. This is when you would want to start out fresh, act as if this employee is brand new, don’t assume what they know or don’t know, establish your expectations, treat them as part of the team, hold them accountable, but don’t go after them and try to find things to write them up for or get them fired; do it by the book and be consistent.
The Winning Team
Let’s say the opposite happens, you just got done working hard taking a losing team to being a winning team and so your leadership rewards you by placing you to lead another winning team. What do you do? This team knows what to do; they don’t really need you right? Wrong. They do need you but they don’t need you to go in like a bull, changing things around, and put your foot down. They just need you to be there for them, support their decisions, and support them to get things done at your level. This can be hard for some leaders, especially those used to dealing with failing teams and turning them around, but it is a great feeling to go into a new team, know you can go in and just do your job, and not have to worry if your team is going to do something completely out of character. But know their successes are theirs and their failures are yours.
So, obviously these two cases are big events but you still need to be flexible for the every day opportunities as well. Even when you’re on the winning team you cannot just sit in your office or leave and expect everything to run 100%; you will need to trust but verify. This has helped me a lot. When you place too much trust on your team it can be a negative thing because they might wonder what it is you do because they never see you but in return you don’t want to breathe down their necks. When your team is failing, get out of your office, get back to the front lines, and get after it. When your team is winning, get out of your office, lead them, praise them, and get out of their way but let them know you’re there to support them.
It is all about being both hard and soft, tough and fair, distant but have emotions, hold them accountable but they need to know you are there to support them. Be flexible, be passionate, be a leader, and be the example.